Although the message of a parent’s endearing and constant love is always welcome, the bland treatment here will leave young...

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I LOVE YOU FOREVER

A young child asks, “Mommy, what age was I cutest of all? / Now that I’m bigger or when I was small?” The pages that follow are her reply.

Bridges chooses an often syrupy singsong rhyme for the mother to convey her memories of how much she adored her child at various times in his young life: “When you were born, you were cuter than cute, / Tiny and sweet in your new birthday suit.” McNicholas illustrates these moments in softened hues that add a cozy touch to the title. Learning to walk, refusing to eat, playing at the park, dressing up, and attending school are all recounted. In the end, the child’s concerns that as time goes by Mommy’s love may change are put to rest, “You’re my darling, no matter what stage. / I’ll love you forever, whatever your age!” In each scenario and image the child and mother are together, and no other family members appear. The child is depicted with shaggy, blond hair but is dressed androgynously; readers may gender the child as they choose. Both child and mother are Caucasian, but playground and preschool scenes include children of color.

Although the message of a parent’s endearing and constant love is always welcome, the bland treatment here will leave young readers wanting. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Feb. 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-58925-132-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2015

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Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.

YOUR BABY'S FIRST WORD WILL BE DADA

A succession of animal dads do their best to teach their young to say “Dada” in this picture-book vehicle for Fallon.

A grumpy bull says, “DADA!”; his calf moos back. A sad-looking ram insists, “DADA!”; his lamb baas back. A duck, a bee, a dog, a rabbit, a cat, a mouse, a donkey, a pig, a frog, a rooster, and a horse all fail similarly, spread by spread. A final two-spread sequence finds all of the animals arrayed across the pages, dads on the verso and children on the recto. All the text prior to this point has been either iterations of “Dada” or animal sounds in dialogue bubbles; here, narrative text states, “Now everybody get in line, let’s say it together one more time….” Upon the turn of the page, the animal dads gaze round-eyed as their young across the gutter all cry, “DADA!” (except the duckling, who says, “quack”). Ordóñez's illustrations have a bland, digital look, compositions hardly varying with the characters, although the pastel-colored backgrounds change. The punch line fails from a design standpoint, as the sudden, single-bubble chorus of “DADA” appears to be emanating from background features rather than the baby animals’ mouths (only some of which, on close inspection, appear to be open). It also fails to be funny.

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-00934-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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Banal affirmation buoyed by charming illustrations.

I BELIEVE I CAN

Diversity is the face of this picture book designed to inspire confidence in children.

Fans of Byers and Bobo’s I Am Enough (2018) will enjoy this book that comes with a universal message of self-acceptance. A line of children practices ballet at the barre; refreshingly, two of the four are visibly (and adorably) pudgy. Another group tends a couple of raised beds; one of them wears hijab. Two more children coax a trepidatious friend down a steep slide. Further images, of children pretending to be pirates, dragons, mimes, playing superhero and soccer, and cooking, are equally endearing, but unfortunately they don’t add enough heft to set the book apart from other empowerment books for children. Though the illustrations shine, the text remains pedagogic and bland. Clichés abound: “When I believe in myself, there’s simply nothing I can’t do”; “Sometimes I am right, and sometimes I am wrong. / But even when I make mistakes, I learn from them to make me strong.” The inclusion of children with varying abilities, religions, genders, body types, and racial presentations creates an inviting tone that makes the book palatable. It’s hard to argue with the titular sentiment, but this is not the only book of its ilk on the shelf.

Banal affirmation buoyed by charming illustrations. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-266713-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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